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Alternative Title

Clinician pregnancy in psychoanalytic and relational frameworks

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Pregnancy-Psychological aspects, Psychotherapists-Psychology, Psychoanalytic interpretation, Subjectivity, Clinician pregnancy, Psychoanalytic theory, Relational theory, Embodiment, Relational unconscious, Patient's experience of the analyst's subjectivity, Creative disorder, Unformulated experience


This paper explores the risks, dilemmas, and opportunities for therapeutic work during and following clinician pregnancy. A therapist’s pregnancy can pose enormous challenges as identities shift, treatment is disrupted, and the therapist’s changing body and role spark new associations and conflicts. This theoretical thesis draws on psychoanalytic and relational theory to explore how clinician pregnancy has been viewed—and overlooked—in the past, and how therapists might contend with the challenges and dynamism of this time. In bringing relational theory to bear on clinician pregnancy, this paper wrestles with ideas of embodiment, with Aron’s (1999) concept of the patient’s experience of the analyst’s subjectivity, Stern’s (1983/1998) notion of “unformulated experience,” and Gerson’s “relational unconscious” (2004). It examines questions of self-disclosure, fusion and separateness, maternal presence and absence, disruption and abandonment, and expansion and fragmentation, treating the therapist’s body and psyche as vast and fluid forces in the consulting room.




iii, 99 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 94-99)